Christina Ricci didn’t have to face the same type of schoolyard bullying that many people dealt with as a tween; the actress was already a star in Hollywood before her teenage years. Many young fans watched Ricci on the big screen and dreamed of what it must be like to be her. I was one of her many admiring fans. However, at the same time that she was entertaining us in her many hit movies, she was enduring a lot of pain behind the scenes.
Fixing What Was Wrong With Her
At the young age of nine, Ricci starred in her first movie, Mermaids. Acting alongside Wynona Ryder and Cher, the young actress was destined to become a household name. In the next few years, she did just that. After appearing in the 1991 The Addams Family movie and the 1995 Halloween classic Casper, Ricci was known around the world before she was a teenager.
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What many didn’t know, however, was that while filming her hit movies, Ricci endured body-shaming from those around her. While speaking with TODAY Parents, the actress opened up about her childhood experiences on set. During her costume fittings, Ricci shared, “People would basically all get together and look at you and decide how to fix everything that was wrong with you.”
As Ricci became more self-conscious during fittings, the actress eventually developed an eating disorder. Recalling those days, she shared memories of how men would discuss her developing breasts. “When I was 12 or 13 and started to have boobs, they would talk about how to make me look less womanly,” she reflected. “It made me really uncomfortable. I did not enjoy that.”
Although Ricci was just a kid, she was subjected to constant comments about her body and shared how difficult it was for her. “The production—the movie being made—is more important than any individual’s feelings. So they didn’t have to consider my feelings,” the actress remarked. “That can be a big problem when you’re a kid.”
Mind Over Body
Through support, Ricci overcame anorexia at the age of 15. Now as a mom to two children: Freddie, 8, and a 9-month-old daughter, Cleopatra, Ricci models healthy eating for her family. The message she gives to her children about food is: “We eat for nutrition; we eat to grow; we eat to be healthy.”
The actress also wants her kids to know that it’s more important to focus on their minds and what they can give to society than to focus on the appearance of their bodies. “Unless you’re going to make a career that is all based on your body, then why are we thinking so much about what we physically look like?” the actress rightly questions. “That’s the biggest trick that’s ever been played on women. If we’re so preoccupied with our looks, we’ll never develop any of our talents.”
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These lessons are important for everyone. We can all learn from Ricci and the healthy habits she is instilling in her children: to view food as fuel, to develop our talents, and focus on our minds instead of our bodies.